My journey until now has been eventful, challenging and a big learning experience. I shared my opinion earlier about the teaching assignment I am involved in and kind of challenges it posed. The month of April brought the end of the semester and the climax to teaching in the form of exams and the performance of the students.
Of course I enjoyed the entire semester and if teaching during the semester was challenging then conducting the exams and viva voce as well as correcting the answer sheets and submitting grades in a timely manner are part of the April Pandora box. So, end of April brought a big sigh of relief from all responsibilities that were associated with the course and duly dealt with during the semester. If an improvement in student’s performances is evident when compared to their mid semester performances, it adds a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction to this toiling.
The students in my opinion are overburdened with coursework, labs, assignments and class quizzes. All this in their schedule at the beginning of the month, sets the tone for the end semester exams that follows even before students have a chance to blink. I am not in, with the opinion of burdening students with all the above but yet we do need a scale to figure out how much the students have learnt in the class.
Early in the month, I conducted a quiz related to what was being taught in the class. Questions were posed with the idea that students should apply their thoughts before they answer. The response from the class was very enthusiastic. I observed an interesting change. The students were being analytical and interested in explaining and defending their viewpoint. As a teacher, this was really rewarding, not only had the students understood what was being taught but also assimilated it in a way so as to be able to analyze and logically explain things.
You might remember, my mentioning in one of the earlier blogs, the diversity my class with regard to subject inclination is quite different. That was a probing time when I was trying to strike a balance between different levels of understanding in the class. My effort was to reach to as many students as possible and to motivate them. It was apparent during the quiz, that my strategy is paying off, and the students do seem interested in the subject and spend sometime understanding and thinking logically about problems, theories and solutions. I hope this inner urge/motivation to learn and be curious would continue and only increase as they move from one semester to other. Each student irrespective of his/her majors ends up learning something new by the end of the course. I am looking forward to the end of the semester exams as that would be the acid test for my teaching and instruction.
In the end, it is a big sigh of relief for me that course contents were covered in a manner that was not overwhelming to students and they got to learn and understand something new in a step wise and logical manner. It also brings along the time to shift focus and gears from teaching to research until the new semester begins in July. Since all responsibilities associated with course were dealt earnestly and the outcome of this effort is evident in class and hopefully in their end semester exam. It fills me with a sense of satisfaction that I could achieve a significant fraction of progress from the class when compared to what I hoped for.